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November 8, 2002

What Kind of Total Disregard for Humanity do You Have?

So today we talk about voices—hearing voices, speaking our own voices, and so on. It's tricky to quite figure out exactly how this voice here, within this article, will speak and what it will say since it's still a bit lost from the opportunity that all of us US citizens had on Tuesday to speak collectively with our own voice. Most of us decided to remain silent, which is, of course, its own non-empty set of signification. But those who spoke, did so, and if about 70,000 of them had voted differently, the Senate (and the US) would look very different for the next two years.

It's still tricky to speak about the events that happened—it was, more or less, the worst-case scenario (the only break the Democrats seemed to get—at all—was in Arkansas), but none of the speechlessness I was left with (coupled with a bottle of blended whiskey I was too stupefied by the results to even open) prepared me for what has happened since, or what may still happen soon.

This is not, clearly, a politics column. It is political—but, well, seriously, kids, what isn't—but my aim here is not to dwell on what's devouring the nation, at least not without trying to put some sort of humanistic spin on it. That is, to me, the anti-war movment last month was caught up in its own inability to determine whether it was representing itself or not—and here I can say myself that I felt that so few people seemed to be interested in the movement that I started to think that maybe I just wasn't making sense—maybe I was so paranoid about everything that my car had slipped off the normative rails, careening off a cliff straight into some sort of ward for delusionals who talk about the earth being flat or something. Proverb for Paranoids 5 states that "paranoids aren't paranoids because they're paranoid, but because they keep putting themselves, fucking idiots, deliberately into paranoid situations." So maybe I'm just the fucking idiot here—flipping out and getting all paranoid about a situation (on the defensive, in dissent) that I'm putting myself deliberately into. After all, if no one can even bother to vote, then how can I possibly justify my fear as anything other than psychotic? If I had something to really worry about, would I be (comparatively, as in, not-in-the-minority) so alone?

Then again, of course, Proverb for Paranoids 3 states that "If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers." This seems to be Karl Rove and Ari Fleischer's motto. Look at what's happened—they are so slick, so good, that I feel like I cannot even discuss my concerns about the war without sinking first in deep puddles of self-doubt. Similarly, by framing and manipulating the debate as they have, the Bush team has managed to force the Democratic leadership into a series of dead ends.

This should not, however, be a real surprise to anyone; Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt have been in a race for the most dead-ends for years now. On Wednesday I received an email from a friend who was calling for the heads of both, and asking for Terry McAuliffe's head to be thrown in the mix as well. I can't believe it took this long for people to respond like this at all—I've been unhappy with Gephardt since his lackluster presidential campaign in 1988, and Daschle's always been sort of weak—he had his chance when he started calling Bush out on the Iraq mess, but he quickly slunk to the background, just like Gephardt. Money bags McAulliffe, however

See, one can't even really write much about this all. Most of the punditocracy has put itself into two camps—the "Democrats need to stay centrist or else they have no chance" camp and the "The left will rise again!" camp. And neither side is really saying much that is new or particularly interesting anymore, either

Yet in times of worry and stress, people often retire to their own imaginary worlds—it's not for nothing that Batman and Superman concerned themselves mostly with alien enemies in the late 50s—having them fight against the real threats on the Earth would have been too much. So now, instead of continuing life in some way related to the outside world, I've retired to the tiny little town of Cicero in Nintendo's "Animal Crossing." I'm a tiny doll-looking character named Maya Cat, and for now I'm a migrant worker, shaking trees of their fruits to earn a mere 100 bells per apple that I can put against my 17k mortgage. I have some fly clothes, though, and a lute in my tiny cottage, so it's not all worry and crying. Plus, I got a set of matryoshka dolls from a pelican I saved at the waterfront. I don't have the heart to sell that, though. But if my mortgage starts getting ridiculous... Anyway, I've also written a pair of notes to the two other cats in my little town, asking them if they want to get together and talk about feelings and stuff. Hopefully it'll work, and hopefully poor Maya Cat won't become quite the sociopath she could be if she starts spouting the ravings of a paranoiac.